Before you read this post check out this article. We talked about writing a post about “Being a TCK” and that was like a month ago and well….I procrastinated, but mainly because I was confused whether I was a TCK or not. And then I did some research. And so here is a super long post to compensate my hiatus !
So you ask, what is a TCK ?
Well, a Third culture kid (TCK, 3CK) is a term used to refer to children who were raised in a culture outside of their parents’ culture for a significant part of their development years.
The first time I heard about this term was about 2 or 3 years ago, I read an article about a Kuwaiti TCK on Khaleejesque a Khaleeji magazine. When I read the article I knew I belonged somewhere. That day I finally found my people.
Like most TCKs the author of the article lived in various countries during her life. But unlike most of the TCKs I’ve read about or met, I’m more of the “stationary TCK” type. You see.. I’ve spent my entire life here, ever since I was born except that time in 7th grade we had to go back “home” my passport country…and believe me for those 2 months I witnessed the culture
shock electrification of my lifetime. Everything was so different from Kuwait…I mean, obviously its different because it’s in a whole different continent, but I guess my mind couldn’t imagine witnessing anything out of the realms of simply being Kuwaitish. But anyway that trip is another story for another post maybe?
During those two long months, I would often get the question “where are you from?” or they would ask “Where did you bring these people from?” accompanied with the well too familiar- “where on earth have these people come from? They are the weirdest sounding folks and they clearly don’t know how things run here..” kinda look.
NEVER ask a TCK where they’re from because simply they’d say it’s complicated, dodge the question all together or modify the answer depending on where they are at the moment (my choice!) but I honestly don’t mind the question, but other TCKs do. Just sayin.
Well, the reason why I ‘modify’ my answers depending on my location is because, well, it is kinda obvious that a black girl with a strange accent isn’t a Kuwaiti but.. technically, I’m a Kuwaiti but at the same time I’m not ( they made that pretty clear when I was born) So… therefore when people in Kuwait ask me where I’m from I answer with my passport country even though I don’t recognise that as home or have much nationalistic feelings towards it (except maybe for the FIFA and food or stuff like that you know…I gotta love my dodo). And when I’m at my passport country I respond to the same question with.. “Well, I came from Kuwait” and for some reason all they hear is “Saudi-Arabia”
and then I’m like “No, it’s Kuwait”
and they’re like “Saudi”
and they’re all like “We’ve got some Saudis in town!”
And then I retreat and give up altogether because it’s much easier -.-
So you see, It gets confusing at times, but if you’re a stationary TCK like me it doesn’t get you frustrated as much. At least I don’t. Or maybe it’s just me and the way I deal with things. I don’t know.
Being a TCK can also be a blessing, sometimes we forget about that part. So, Alhumdulilah to that!
TCKs generally have:-
- 1. An expanded worldview: TCIs have an understanding that there is more than one way to look at situations that they are exposed to or experience.
Definitely true, being a TCK you will definitely be able to have opinions on different issues from a more open view point. And also likely to be less narrow minded.
At school I would encounter a considerable amount of narrow minded people (or maybe they were just being typical teenagers idk) , who were so used to thinking inside the box and if you’d try to open their horizon just a notch, they’d say “why bother?” or just laugh when they realised I was serious. Yep, school pretty much sucked for me.
- 2. A third-dimensional view of the world: With an increased amount of hands-on experiences in multiple cultures, there is a difference in the way that the world is perceived.
TCKs are more likely to give an unbiased view point probably because along the way they develop this whole new third dimensional view of things.
- 3. Interpersonal sensitivity: Increase exposure to a variety of perceptions and lifestyles allow TCIs to monitor their emotions, and register societal norms and cues more adeptly so as to produce higher sensitivity to other cultures and ways of life.
- 4. Cross-cultural enrichment: Enjoying of and seeking to learn about the complexities and idiosyncrasies of other cultures.Oh yes! masala, sugar, spice and all things nice! it’s always interesting to experience other cultures, languages and foods (especially the food! me likey pakoras). Kuwait having a large expatriate community, you get to experience a beautiful blend of cultures and inevitably learn about they’re uniquely colourful backgrounds. It’s funny how I’ve managed to learn more about India than my parents country.
- 5. It’s fun to mess with people’s minds (lol)When people meet me for the first time, and ask me where I am from..It’s fun to make them guess! I would get random answers all the time but the most hilarious one I got has to be Sri Lanka..
Seldom I purposely pull off different accents to confuse people and mess with their minds. (haha you should see the look on their faces!)
All in good fun.
Being a TCK you’d always find yourself drifting towards friends who are TCKs like yourself or have like minded thinking. Often you might also find that wherever you go you are the odd kid – no matter how hard you try. Nevertheless, especially in this time of globalisation I believe TCKs have something to offer to the world, a whole new prospective of the world lies in our eyes and the depth of our experiences. We are free from the shackles that may come out of nationalism. And so I say we are blessed.